On May 9 afternoon, two explosions rocked a tanker anchored of the coast of Syria’s Banias, where the country’s main oil terminal is located.
The explosions were heard all over Banias. Locals shared footage showing two dark clouds of smoke rising from the tanker’s surface. Nevertheless, a photo taken a few minutes after the two explosions shows no fire.
Update2: a video of the incident showing two large smoke clouds rising from the vessel. pic.twitter.com/Mwlno1DWeI
— Within Syria (@WithinSyriaBlog) May 9, 2021
Muhammad al-Sousi, a director in the Syrian Company for Oil Transport, told the Syrian Arab News Agency that the explosions were caused by an engine malfunction.
“A technical failure occurred in one of the engines of an oil tanker anchored off the town of Banias, which led to a minor fire and the appearance of black smoke from the tanker,” al-Sousi said. “The fire was dealt with by the tanker crew and was extinguished immediately without any damage.”
The tanker was identified by observers the Panama-flagged WISDOM, which has been anchored off Banias coast for a while now.
An explosion rocked WISDOM on April 24. Back then, Syrian sources claimed that the tanker was targeted by a drone. Later, it was reported that the explosion was the result of an accident. Three Syrian sailors were killed.
Despite Syrian government claims, the explosions at WISDOM may have been the result of an attack. The explosions occurred just a few hours after a major fire at Syria’s main oil refinery in Homs.
Israel may have targeted the tanker in response to April 13 attack on the Hyperion Ray vessel. The Israeli-owned vessel was attacked off the shores of Fujairah in the UAE. Back then, Iran was blamed for the attack.